Have you ever tried to make a cheesecake? Was it all cracked on the top? How about lumps, did it have more lumps than a room full of camels? I have some solutions for you!
Pans, pans, pans
You may ask, what type of pan does one use to make a cheesecake? Well, generally, cheesecakes are baked in a spring form pan. The average size spring form pan is 9 inches around. This type of pan has 2 parts. It has a round bottom piece and a circular piece with a hook-like closure that allows the round bottom piece to nestle into its bottom groove.
You can also make a rectangular cake and use a 9×13 pan for baking.
Crust or not to crust
Have you ever tried a cheesecake without a crust? It is actually very good. My mom gave me an original New Your style cheesecake recipe many years ago. It was passed down from her mother and her mother (who came over to the US from Italy). The recipe did not call for a crust. You can omit the crust from any cheesecake recipe, if you desire. (Except of course, from a no-bake cheesecake recipe. But, in this article, we are discussing the baked kind of cake)
I like a good crust. You can go with a simple crust consisting of graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. You can also get creative and try Nilla wafers, gingersnaps, chocolate or chocolate chip cookies (the crunchy kind) or chocolate graham crumbs in the place of the basic graham crumbs.
You may ask: what kind of cream cheese should I use in my cheesecake recipe? My opinion is to use the full fat, full flavor cream cheese. I have tried low fat cream cheese in my cheesecake and it really took away from that creamy taste and rich flavor.
Note to self: If a recipe calls for a full fat ingredient, stick with it :-)
OK, so why do you have a fault line down the center of your cheesecake? Several issues can cause this. First, over beating the batter can cause cracks in the cake. Incorrect oven temperature can cause it as well. But, when it comes down to it, cheesecakes are fragile cakes and tend to crack. There is a way to help your cake stay in one piece. You can place the pan that contains your unbaked cake, inside another pan that contains about 1 inch of water, while the cake bakes. We call this a “water bath”.
Lumps, lumps and more lumps
Why is my cake so lumpy? Well, was your cheese at room temperature before you began to mix it? If it was not, that is likely the cause of your lumps. Be sure to start preparing your cheese when it is at room temperature. And be sure you beat it enough, as to remove the lumps.
Be sure not to over mix your ingredients, though. Over mixing can cause the cheesecake to sink in the center!
I am ready to eat
I know, I know, you want to immediately indulge in your cheesecake as soon as it emerges from the warm oven. NO! Don’t do it! Hold yourself back. Your cheesecake may fall apart if you remove it from the pan too early. Plus, a cheesecake always tastes better the next day, after it has sat in the refrigerator overnight. If you do not have the time to wait that long, let it sit in the fridge at LEAST 4 hours before cutting in!
Oh, don’t forget to add the sugar! I made that mistake once and it was just not edible :-)